During the many hours of enforced home-bound idleness (for there are only so many times one can re-watch Dr. Giggles and Midnight Meat Train), my mind naturally wandered to imagining how events would have been unfolding had this been Earth-One or if the Justice League lived here. Surely, Batman would have come up with a plan whereby:
- Superman and Flash troubleshot rescue situations,
- Wonder Woman in her invisible plane would ameliorate the storm with, say, the Cerulean Calming Ray,
- and Aquaman would telepathically link the combined willpower of all the citizens of Gotham and Metropolis and funnel them through Green Lantern to create a gigantic wall along the sea to blunt the force of the storm's landfall.
- Oh, and Shazam might do something dramatic involving lightning.
It would look something like this. Except much more focused on Hal's butt, I'm sure.
What a wonderful world that would be to live in, I thought. One where superheroes were on hand to help protect us from such disasters and difficulties.
But then ... I thought some more. And the Li'l Lex Luthor we all carry inside us started to speak his mind...
I deplore the damage, destruction, and death the storm caused; who would not? But I am also reading a lot about some of the secondary effects of the event. People (and politicians) who have pooh-poohed the power of the federal government are re-thinking the need for it in times of crisis. Important weaknesses in our urban infrastructure have been revealed and the need to invest in and revamp them brightly highlighted. The potential damage of unchecked global warming has become a real and palpible thing, forcing many to re-assess our committment to addressing the most pressing environment issue of our time.
If the Justice League had been here to protect us, would any of those things be happening? Or would we, with gratitude and complacence, simply be saying, "Oh, thank goodness for the Justice League; our heroes!"
Like personal crisis in our private lives, public crisis makes us take stock, re-examine our priorities, and make (hopefully) healthy changes. Like parturition, the process is painful, but the outcome can be delightfully life-changing.
Invasions by alien armadas and supervillain attacks are one thing. But if the Justice League were here to save us from every natural or man-made disaster, every malfunctioning space-plane, every unstable nuclear reactor, every STAR Labs mishap...
would this wind up being a better world or a worse one, in the long run?
I'm not sure.